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Pâte Sucrée

Pâte Sucrée


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Adding egg yolks, cream, and sugar transforms a standard crust into something almost cookie-like. Freeze the second crust for later use.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

Recipe Preparation

  • Whisk egg yolks and cream in a small bowl; set aside. Pulse flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor until a coarse meal forms. With machine running, gradually add cream mixture; blend just to combine (do not overwork dough or crust will be tough).

  • Transfer dough to a large work surface. Knead just to incorporate, 4-5 turns. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a 1-inch-thick disk and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD Crust can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling out. Crust can also be frozen for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before rolling out.

Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole Herriott

Nutritional Content

2 crusts, 1 crust contains:Calories (kcal) 180Fat (g) 12Saturated Fat (g) 7Cholesterol (mg) 65Carbohydrates (g) 17Dietary Fiber (g) 0Total Sugars (g) 4Protein (g) 2Sodium (mg) 30Reviews Section

Graham Pâte Sucrée

Who doesn’t love a graham cracker crust? It scores 10 points for its vaguely low-rent crunchy, granular appeal. Even the odd bad one is pretty good. Except when it’s not. We don’t mind a sandy semi-dissolving graham crust—underbuttered, underpressed, or underbaked. Harmless. It’s the thick lacquered crust to watch out for. One minute you can’t get a fork through it, the next minute a slab of wreckage has skittered across the table and crashed to the floor.

When we decided to go graham, we went graham with crackers made from Anson Mills flour, of course. The resulting crust was pretty terrific, principally because our graham flour is 100 percent whole grain with fat, crunchy flecks of bran straight out of the 19th century. Still, it seemed silly to perform double baking duty when we had, at our fingertips, a singularly fabulous graham flour. Why not a proper crust, one to roll out and crimp?

And this is where we ended up: with a short, buttery, graham pastry dough that rolls out, crimps, and tastes better than any ground up graham cracker crust on Earth!


Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Tart Dough) Recipe

Why It Works

  • Chilling the dough twice guarantees that it is easier to roll out.
  • Leaving 1/4 inch of overhang after the dough is placed in the tart pan and then set in the refrigerator to chill offers a margin of error in case any shrinkage occurs as the gluten relaxes.
  • Blind baking at a moderate heat, with pie weights in place for the entire duration, reduces shrinkage and puffing.

Pâte sucrée is a cookie-like French tart dough that, when baked, serves as the sturdy yet tender crust for custard, curd, cream, and frangipane fillings. When made well, pâte sucrée is reminiscent of vanilla-scented shortbread and is able to support even the heaviest of fillings without crumbling to pieces.

While it’s a simple dough, the devil is in the details. More specifically, it requires patience and planning, so be sure to take these guidelines into account:

  • Chill the dough thoroughly, twice. First, after mixing and shaping the dough into a disk, then again after rolling out and placing the dough into the tart pan. Doing so keeps the dough cold and relaxes the gluten.
  • Keep mixing to a minimum. Overmixing the dough in the stand mixer will encourage gluten development, making the dough difficult to roll out and yielding a tough crust.
  • Feel the dough to check its malleability before rolling. If the dough feels too firm, let it stand at room temperature until slightly softened. On the other hand, if the dough is too soft and sticky (or has become so over the course of rolling it out), don’t hesitate to place it back in the refrigerator until it has firmed up and it’s easier to work with.
  • Account for overhang. After the dough is securely placed in the tart pan, we like to leave 1/4 inch of overhang all around to account for any shrinkage that happens as the gluten chills.
  • Bake at a lower temperature. Blind baking at a moderate oven temperature of 350°F (177°C) with pie weights (we like to use granulated sugar*) in place the whole time reduces shrinkage and puffing, ensuring a larger capacity for your filling of choice.

*Regular old granulated sugar is our preferred pie weight when blind baking pie and tart crusts. It’s heavy and dense, always in our pantry, and if the same batch of sugar is used for repeated blind bakings, it eventually transforms into another favorite ingredient of ours, toasted sugar.

This recipe yields enough dough for two tart crusts. If you need a single crust or only have one tart pan, you can make one tart shell at a time. Begin by wrapping the remaining dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate it for up to 1 day or freeze it for up to 1 month before using (to defrost, simply transfer the dough to your refrigerator at least 24 hours before you plan to roll it out). If you require two tart crusts and only have one tart pan, roll out and blind bake the first disk while keeping the second one wrapped in the refrigerator the entire time, only pulling it out once the first crust is baked and cooled. Carefully remove the baked crust from the tart pan, wipe out the used pan, and proceed with rolling out and blind baking the second crust.

Editors' Note: This recipe was originally developed by Lauren Weisenthal, and it has been updated with additional cross-testing and information by Kristina Razon.


Pâte Sucrée

Use any leftovers from this &ldquosweet&rdquo dough for easy cookies. Just roll, cut into your favorite shape and bake.

Yields

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons granulated sugar ½ teaspoon kosher salt 12 tablespoons (¾ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature 2 large egg yolks 1 tablespoon ice water ¼ teaspoon lemon zest (optional) ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Nutritional information

Nutritional information per serving (based on 72 servings): Calories 92 (58% from fat) | carb. 8g | pro. 1g | fat 6g | sat. fat 4g | chol. 32mg | sod. 23mg | calc. 2mg | fiber 0g For the almond sucrée: Nutritional information per serving: Calories 94 (63% from fat) | carb. 7g | pro. 1g | fat 7g | sat. fat 4g | chol. 32mg | sod. 23mg | calc. 5mg | fiber 0g

Instructions

1. Insert the metal chopping blade into the work bowl of the Cuisinart® Food Processor. Add the flour, sugar and salt and process for 10 seconds to sift. Add the butter and process until combined, about 30 seconds. With the machine running on the dough speed (if available), add the yolks, one at a time, and process until incorporated. Add the water, zest (if using) and vanilla pulse 3 to 4 times, until combined.

2. Form dough into 2 flat discs. Wrap in plastic chill in refrigerator until ready to use. Dough should be firm enough to roll.

Note: To make this an almond sucrée, substitute ¹&frasl³ cup of the all-purpose flour for toasted almonds. Finely grind the almonds by processing 45 seconds, and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Process 10 seconds to sift and follow instructions as stated above.


Pâte Sucrée

While it may sound quite pretentious, “pâte sucrée” (pate soo-CRAY) means, quite simply, “sweet pastry.” And that’s exactly what you get. A sturdy, surprisingly easy to handle dough, thanks to a relatively high proportion of sugar and egg yolk, that’s quite adept at supporting all manner of pies and tarts. Were we to have a say in naming things, it’d also be known as “super simple pastry that’ll lend you confidence in your crust-making abilities, make you a legend in your own kitchen, and send all your guests back for seconds.” No need to wonder how to say it in French. You already know.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Il Fait Froid Note

There’s a very simple reason pie crust recipes call for cold butter. The short answer is it makes the dough flakier. The long answer is it helps the butter in the dough remain solid rather than turn into a puddle until it’s met by the blast of a hot oven. Then the butter shrugs off its moisture in such a way as to create layers and layers of sweet, flaky pastry porn. You might say it melts in your oven, not in your hand. In the summer, we take it one step further and tend to chill the flour as well, just as an added precaution to said butter temperature patrol.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add yolk pulse. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube process until dough just holds together (no longer than 30 seconds). Shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 2 days)


Making the Pâte Sucrée

The food processor did most of the work in making the French Sweet Pastry. In our French Pastry class in Paris, we didn’t have this luxury!

I started by pulse processing the flour and confectioners’ sugar until they were combined. This took 5 or 6 pulses. Then, I added the butter which I had cut into small cubes to the food processor. I pulse processed it for 8 or 9 times until the mixture resembled cornmeal.

Next, I added an egg, and pulse processed the mixture 5 or 6 times. At this point, the mixture was quite crumbly. I pressed together a small handful to see if it would stick together, which it did! Sometimes, the dough needs a bit more liquid, so I add a small amount of heavy cream.


A half recipe is enough to line a deep-dish pie or tart pan with just a bit leftover.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz . all purpose flour
  • 8 oz . cake flour
  • 4 oz . sugar
  • 10.4 oz . unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 oz . heavy cream
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine butter, sugar, salt and flours until very sandy.
  2. Add yolks and cream and mix just until dough comes together. Do not overwork dough.
  3. Roll out between sheets of parchment and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also freeze it for up to a month.
  4. When ready to bake, let the dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes so it is pliable, and then gently fit it into a tart pan, gently pressing it into the corners.
  5. Roll over the top of the pan to cut off the excess dough.
  6. Prick all over with a knife and then freeze. Baking from frozen reduces the risk of the crust shrinking.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees, F, until lightly golden brown and delicious. Fill with your desired filling.

Notes

You can certainly make this in a mixer, but keep it on low speed and mix just until the dough comes together.
Make a simple fresh fruit tart by cooling the tart shell, filling with thick pastry cream and topping with fresh whole or sliced fruit. To make the fruit shine, you can brush it with a bit of melted and strained jam.


Pâte Sucrée - Recipes

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

You'll need only about half the pâte sucrée dough to make the recipe for Crème Brlée Cookies. Use the rest to make your favorite cutout cookies or freeze the dough for later.

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cold butter, cubed (2 sticks)

In a small bowl, whisk together yolks, cream and vanilla set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt, sugar and butter on low speed. When mixture becomes sandy, add the wet ingredients and mix just until dough comes together. Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll cold dough out to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into 2-inch circles. Place 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake just until edges start to brown, about 6 minutes. Cool on a rack.


Pâte Sucrée

My Pâte Sucrée recipe is a sweet-tart dough, that is tender and crumbly yet at the same time very sturdy. Meant specifically as a tart dough, it is great for custards, pastry creams, and fruit tarts, it has the texture of a shortbread type cookie.

I’ve seen a lot of Pâte Sucrée recipes that have you cut the butter into the flour, which is more like a pie dough rather than a tart dough. That method will produce more of a pâte sablée, not a pâte sucrée. Nit-picky I know, but if you have a super moist filling such as custard or pastry cream, the distinction is very important.